I love noisy classrooms.
It is not every day that you hear this, more so from an educator. Of course, when I say noisy, I do not mean unruly. Discipline is important.
But I firmly believe in the power of collaboration between teachers and students. If the classroom is quiet, it means there is no communication.
When the kids are talking and interacting with the teacher, I know ‘learning’ is happening.
I do not like it if I walk past a class and it is only the teacher doing the talking and the students have their heads down. It means they are bored.
Of course, there are times when the teacher has to ‘talk’ and the children have to ‘listen’. But an educator must find ways to make lessons interesting.
My belief is that teaching must not be boring.
There are fun and creative ways we can transfer knowledge to students. They will appreciate us for it.
One way is involving them in the lessons so they can better absorb the knowledge.
That is why at Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS) International School, we encourage play-based learning for the pre-schoolers. We also have quizzes, games and other fun activities for the older students.
Play-based learning is an innovative approach to learning that teaches a set of strategies critical for success in the 21st century.
This involves asking open-ended questions so the students will not have the opportunity to give ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers.
When we challenge the students to think beyond the textbooks, we are preparing them for when they go out to the workforce.
School must not just be about academics. While it is important to get great grades, children must possess life skills.
As educators, we must prepare them beyond a world of books.
Emotional intelligence and financial literacy are two important assets we, as educators, can pass on to the students.
At GOTS, we have FinancialSmart where we teach the students – even the pre-schoolers – about the importance of money.
We also have something called SHINE, which is an experiential emotional intelligence (EQ) focused programme.
Here, the students learn social skills, how to network and use their imagination, among others.
We teach children not to be shy. They must be kepochi or busybody. Greet anyone they meet, ask questions. Always have a sense of wonderment.
Separately, an important word I use often with my students is “negotiate”.
I negotiate with my students if they misbehave.
It is not about shouting or punishing them for disobeying the rules. Discipline is important but I would give them a chance to discuss how their behaviour is detrimental to their future.
I explain to them how they are actually punishing themselves for not following the rules and the consequences of their actions.
I explain if they fail to do well in their examinations, they would not be promoted to the next level. We will hold them back for a year, meaning they will not be joining their friends.
When they realise the errors of their ways and the significance of their actions, they change their ways.
At the end of the day, we need to remember, we have to make school inviting so children will want to come back again and again.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.